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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from the range doing some load developement. The newer tapered barrel on this gun is a definite improvement on the prior models. I've run some loads through it from the bench and yes, it is finicky as to which loads shoot well but I have found it is much more consistant now that I have done some mods to it. I put a Leupold Vari-X II 2X7 scope on it because I had it laying around. It has a "Tackhole" Lee dot (6 minute @ 2X & 2 min @7X). I've installed the Wilson 1911 rear recoil buffer which softened the ejection of brass and replaced the factory gas port bushing (about .10" dia!!) with a .045" bushing. Brass is thrown abot 10-12 feet vs my prior gun tossing it 30-35 feet. I can't tell any difference but I hope the scope isn't getting banged around as much now. BTW, the gas port bushing replacement was a piece of cake to do after watching Gundoc's video. I shot a bunch of previously developed loads for other guns before trying to work up specific loads for this gun and it shot more consistantly than the Mini Ranch I owned many years ago but sold because it shot the brass out almost as hard as the bullet.

I did some load developement and then attached an Accu-Strut to the gun. I chose the Accu-Strut because it is the "original", looked more like it belonged on the gun and had double screw attachment of each barrel band rather than the single screw as is on the Mo-Rod. What I found is the gun now acts more like a bolt gun. The groups are more consistant and fliers are a rarity. Overall the groups pre & post Accu-Strut are smaller but not by a great amount. The reduced group size was greatest with the crummiest bullets: 55gr FMJ and MHG 60gr (jackets made of reformed 22RF brass). I believe the new tapered barrel and upgraded machinery to make the guns has made the most difference in accuracy. I can easily see someone not putting a strut on since they do add noticeable weight to the front of the gun.

What I am getting from sandbags at 50 yards is a whole lot of 3 shot 1/2"-7/8"" groups with a variety powders & bullets, especially the 40 & 50gr Ballistic tips/V-maxes. It also likes the 60gr Hornady spire point. It hates the 68gr Nosler & Hornady HPs. The mil-spec ammo goes into 1 1/4" groups. I am basically developing a varmint/coyote gun not a 300 yard prairie dog gun. I think I've gotten what I wanted all along: a handy, compact rifle that will put a hole wherever the scope's black dot is. The AR-15s just don't feel like a "rifle" to me and are more bulky to have around rigs on the ranch. I don't want to start an AR vs Mini discussion here, I like them both but I feel I have come back "home" to the Mini.
 

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Redleg
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I am a Mini guy myself (although I own and like an SR556E) so you won't get any AR versus Mini stuff out of me. :p

Couple of questions though. Firstly, how much weight does the Accu-Strut add to the rifle? To me one of the charms of the Mini 14 is how handy it is; a light, easy to carry carbine. I can shoot my Mini from the shoulder without becoming fatigued, whereas heavier rifles become a chore for from-the-shoulder shooting. So what about the effect of the 'Strut on that?

I have been shooting basically decent 55 grain reloads that my local range sells. Your comments about the different ammo types and the groups that you realize are interesting.
 

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Wow man way to go!!

Have you bedded the action? Thats another place where you can gain some accuracy,
Gundoc has a video on that as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Roger,
It definately feels heavier. Not as heavy as an HBAR but I can sure tell the difference. There is a drilled out lighter weight Accu-Strut in the making but I couldn't wait so I got the current LT one. I agree, some of the handiness of the gun is gone. I think the strut weighs about 8 oz.

Mr Rock,
I watched the bedding video and decided that the Mini was way more complicated than doing my 1903 Springfield. I looked around and found "bedding shims" but couldn't find a picture or any idea of how or where to install them rather than a full bedding job so I kinda gave up on any bedding. I have the factory synthetic stock. I can see where the pillar bedding (drilling the reciever & stock, epoxying bolts or screws) to tie down the action to the stock would firm things up but I didn't want to take a drill bit to the gun just yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Range report:
Replaced the Leupold scope with a new 2X7 Redfield Accu-range that adjusts predictably instead of jumping 4" for a 1" adjustment like the Leupold, which was defective. Long story short. I'm getting 1-1.5" 3 shot groups at 100 yds. The gun shoots varying weights in a predictable manner: lighter 40gr bullets a little lower thanthe 50, 55, & 60 gr bullets. Since the last range session I had re-torqued the gas block. Had to take the Accu-rod off to do it. Rod is back on. I had a couple failures to eject (FTEs?) with the 40 & 60 grainers. The gun likes the high end of the load chart. Max loads gave the best groups. I only have H335 & W748. I'm happy with it for a 300yd coyote gun. The Accu-Range feature on the scope is nice for sighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK Here's some groups shot from sand bags. Hopefully they will come up.


First is 55gr Hornady SX 26.5grs W748 (50yards) 1/2"

2nd is mil spec reloads (50 yds) 1 1/8"

3rd group 55gr Hornady SX 25.6gr H335 @50 yds 1/2"

4th group @100yds composit groups (circled) 60gr Hornady SP (1 1/2"), 50gr Balistic tip (7/8"), 40gr Ballistic tip (2").
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Recent targets fired today and comparing to previous developed loads

Update: I have done the following in this order to get this rifle to shoot better than out of the box:
-Put a couple hundred rounds through it to break it in
-Retorqued the gas block evenly (no idea the inch-pounds used, but snug & even)
-Swapped out the gas port for a .045" bushing
-Installed an Accu-Strut (removed the forend plug that was ornamental in order to reduce weight)
-Rear recoil buffer installed (Wilson 1911)
-Filed the front of the op-rod so it contacted the gas block more evenly
Findings:
It likes to be warmed up. I get the most consistant groups with the gun warm. First two rounds out of a cold barrel hit 1.5-2" lower than the rest. That's fine. The gun is dead on at 100yds then the groups are up a little at 12 o'clock. I can live with that. I just want a light weight coyote gun that handles like a rifle.

Today's targets were shot at 100 yards. I was developing a load for the 60gr V-Max bullet and compared its group & POI to the prior developed coyote loads with the 60grSP & the 55gr SX from Hornady. The gun throws the 40 and 60gr V-Maxs 2" left and low than the flat based soft point bullets:
55 Hornady SX (26.5gr H335) coyote load 1.5"
60gr Hornady Soft Pt (26gr H335) is my "standard load" 1.25"
60gr V-Max (with drawn on POIs of the 60H SP & the 55gr SX) 1.0"

Discussion/comments:
The gun is coming along right where I had hoped. I may not get 1 MOA but this is not a 300yd prairie dog gun. I have a Rem 788 for that. BTW the scope is a Redfield 2X7 Accu something reticle. Groups were shot on 2x because that is what I'll be using when varminting. If a dog comes in running and close I don't want to hunt for him in the scope.

Question for the forum:
I'm considering bedding shims because I am still a little reluctant to do the AccraGlass bedding. I've seen the Gundoc video and it is very informative but I just don't want to chance gluing my gun together permanently. It looks a little complicated and I don't know what to do with the gas block/forestock area. I'm figuring on adding shims and calling it good. I'm also debating whether to cryo or not. A 1.5"-2" shift from cold barrel to hot after 2 shots seems OK to me since the first 2 shots at a coyote are gonna be the ones to get it or not. Any others are "hail Marys" on a runner. I've hit some hail Mary's too but some were just collisions.

Comments?
 

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I have a 582 SS that was pretty loose in the synthetic stock, it just fell out the first time I cleaned it. I read a tip on here to shim it with pieces of an old credit card. I superglued pieces to a couple of spots on the stock and it's real tight now and very accurate. Now I have to pry it out when I clean. Do a good job of cleaning the oil off the stock before you glue it and it's on there for good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
WXL,
Thanks for the tip. I think I'll use brass or steel to make the shims. I emailed Accuracy Rifle Systems that sell shims yesterday and have not heard back yet.
 

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steel shims

I went to my local hardware store and bought a set of feeler gauges ($5) and some epoxy. By having feeler gauges I could keep trying different ones until I got a very tight fit, but the gun would still come apart. You now have to push the receiver out, it will not come out on it's own.
And after watcing the Gun Doc Video I knew what parts he thinks are the most critical, so I only put the shims there. The shims cut easy with tin snips so I could make it fit just right.
And feeler gauges are made out of hardened steel, they will not change, hammer flat, or now that they are epoxied to the stock, move.

I am shooting around an inch at 100 yards with Fiocchi 50 gr vmax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mictogo,
Your photos were EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Do you remember which thickness of the feeler guages worked so I get an idea what to look for. I will probably use sheet metal (steel) instead of brass or copper to make the shims. I'm leery of ruining theedge of my nippers on hardened steel.
 

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Mictogo,
Your photos were EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Do you remember which thickness of the feeler guages worked so I get an idea what to look for. I will probably use sheet metal (steel) instead of brass or copper to make the shims. I'm leery of ruining theedge of my nippers on hardened steel.
I assuming you have a dremel so use a cutoff wheel to cut the hardened shims. The dremel will make clean cuts vs a set of shears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh yeah, got a Dremel. It is amazing the damage one can do in a few seconds.
 

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I think I used a .22 on one side and .28 on the other. You can cut them with tin snips, then smooth them out on an anvil and hammer. Rough up the back side with sand paper, rough up the stock with same sand paper. Do use some type of release agent on the receiver, I used clear shoe polish. Mix up the epoxy. I used the one with the highest heat rating. They make about six different types. Glue them together and put the gun back together. Let it sit for a day. Total took about hour to make them. Had to make about four or five before I got ones that I liked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
mictogo,
Don't you mean .022 and .028? Otherwise it looks like over a 1/4 inch shim on each side. Your photos look like 22 or 28 thou.
 

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I liked using the credit card plastic because it was so easy to work with. After I put them in I couldn't get the gun in because it was a little too thick, but all I had to do was sand them down to the right thickness and beveled the top edge and got a super snug fit. I was a little concerned that they wouldn't last or would get sloppy over time, but after 6 months they are still perfect and snug.
 

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wxl did you glue these pieces in some way or do you just put them back in after cleaning?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mictogo,
I sort of took your idea and expanded on it. I miked my reciever dimensions and the stock dimensions and then meandered around the shop looking for shim material that would fill the gaps. I found a roll of perforated metal strip used for hanging pipes & ducts and aluminum shim material of various thicknesses. I used paper to trace the outline of what I needed to shim and made about a 3 1/2" long metal shim that dropped into each side wall cutout including the rear "legs" where the trigger group locks into and foreward to the front lug where the recoil spring housing is (the reciever narrows there by about .06" per side). I used a gel epoxy and carefully glued in the thin metal strip full length shim and then made two smaller shims to fill the space at the front of the reciever below the chamber area. I glued the thicker aluminum shims on top of the thinner shim and beveled two of the edges so the reciever would insert easier. I used release agent on the reciever just in case and lubed the contact surfaces of the forward shims. I now have a real nice, SNUG fit fore and aft. I'm hoping that will help with fliers and overall improvement on groups.

Thursday I went to the range to sight in our deer rifles and I decided to shoot 3 rounds at the 100yd target with the Mini and the group was centered on the 3" bull but the group was about 3" all around the center. It was still minute of coyote but just when I thought I had everything "dialed in" I shoot a group and it's back to the drawing board for more improvements. My shim fit is as snug as any bedding could do so we'll see what this does next time I get to the range. There was a fair amount of room around the reciever to flop around in once the trigger group was out. After the range session was when I decided the only thing I haven't done to this gun besides cryo is to bed it so that was my last night's entertainment. Wish me luck.
 
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